Teresa's Rings

I hate shopping.

Before Teresa started clothing me, I used to go shopping just one day each year. This is the god's-honest truth: Once a year, in late October, I'd take a day off from work and head out to the mall. I chose October because it was possible to buy both summer and winter clothes. Once at the mall, I'd quickly try on pants until I found a pair that fit me. Once I'd determined my size, I'd tell the clerk to give me one of every color pants they stocked in that size. I'd then repeat this process with shirts. The clerks would just stare in amazement as the pile of clothes grew higher and higher. I'd then grab a couple dozen pairs of socks, several packs of underwear, a coat (if my old one was worn out), then whip out my charge card. It was not uncommon for my bill to amount to several hundred dollars. I paid no attention whatsoever to price. All I cared about was speed. I wanted get out of the mall as quickly as possible - before being overcome by the urge to kill some inattentive sales clerk.

Then, I'd go to the bar.

For the rest of the year, the closest I'd come to "shopping" was weekly trips to the grocery store, or a rare trip to the hardware store. I don't even rent videos - it's too close to shopping for my taste.

I hate shopping.

But, I had to face reality: You can't buy wedding rings without going shopping.

Poor Teresa has had the misfortunate of shopping with me before. She's witnessed the monster. So, I imagine that the gleeful prospect of ring shopping was tempered somewhat by the fear of having me accompany her. But, as we climbed into my truck to go ring shopping, I was bound and determined to be on my best ever shopping behavoir. I would have preferred death to robbing Teresa of one iota of pleasure as she selected her rings. I was on a shopping mission.

Even though I wasn't sure I could affort it, I wanted to take Teresa shopping at the best jeweler in town - Schiffman's. What a great choice this turned out to be. This place had the rarest of things you'll find in a store nowadays - professional sales people! They actually knew something about what they were selling. They were respectful, and helpful, and attentative. They actually smiled. And, best of all, they never once tried to "sell" us anything. They just helped us in any way they could.

Within minutes, I was actually enjoying shopping.

At first, I think we were both overwhelmed by the selection. But, after a few minutes of browsing, I'd picked out in my mind the settings I thought Teresa would choose. About 30 minutes later, Teresa slipped it on her finger and instantly fell in love with it. I couldn't believe it: Out of the thousands of rings at Schiffman's, we'd both picked the same ones.

Now, I'm not one to normally get all fired up about jewelery. But, these rings are special. Unfortunately, they're also very difficult to describe.

Both of Teresa's rings are made of platinum. I thought platinum went out of style back during the Depression, and had no idea anyone still used it to make rings. Usually, you only see platinum rings at estate sales of very old Southern women. They remind me of something you'd see in Gone With the Wind.

The engagement ring's got beautifully delicate filigree work all the way around the band. On top, we had them mount a nearly perfect 1/3 carat round diamond, set deep into the ring. Then, embedded in the front and back faces of the ring, and running up either side of the crown leading to the center diamond, are 20 other little diamonds. These diamonds only add up to .2 carats. From a distance, they are barely perceptible. They just add a little extra sparkle to all the filigree work. Up close, it's amazing to see the incredible workmanship.

The wedding band is also beautifully filigreed platinum, with 9 little diamonds inlaid in the top. It's got a kind of warped shape that allows it to snuggle up next to the engagement ring just perfectly. Together, they're nothing short of beautiful.

When we set out to do ring shopping, I had told Teresa not to look at the price tags. I told her to just concentrate on the style of the ring, then we'd attempt to find something similar, and size the diamond to bring the price down to something I could afford. After seeing Teresa trying on these rings, and looking at the excitement in her face, I was really scared to look at the price tag. I really didn't want to disappoint her. As it turned out, these rings, with the diamonds and custom work that we had them quote, were within $25 of what I figured I could spend! I was a happy boy!

I thought Teresa would die from anticipation during the three weeks it took them to make the ring. I used to think diamonds were the most overpriced baubles on earth. Now, after seeing the look on Teresa's face as she tried on her new ring, I think they're worth every penny. Maybe more.

And, I'd go shopping again just to see that look on her face.